by Kevin Milligan

Last updated: September 17, 2019.

The American Economic Association has a disclosure policy for potential conflicts of interest, as does the National Bureau of Economic Research. To fulfill my obligations under those policies, I have posted my disclosure here, which is up-to-date as of September 2019.

The subject of the disclosure statement above is mainly financial, but it also included items related to political and policy activity. In this blog post I expand briefly on the political and policy activity.

From time to time, I take calls from government officials for advice on policy matters. I answer the calls when I’m able.

In the past, MPs from all three main parties have cited me as a credible reference in the House of Commons. (CPC, LPC, NDP)

In 2014-15, I was a member of the Economic Advisory Council for the Liberal Party of Canada. I also assisted in developing some parts of their policy platform and gave some advice during the campaign. These roles were unpaid, and ended with the October 19, 2015 election.

Since the 2015 election, I have continued to have occasional policy conversations with, among others, officials from the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Office of the Leader of the Opposition. Starting in June 2016, I advised the Department of Finance on its Review of Federal Tax Expenditures. From September to December 2016, I spent 80% of my time providing research and advice to the Department of Finance. Details of this arrangement are here. As of January 1st, 2017 I moved back 100% to my teaching, research, and administrative duties at UBC.

In 2017 through 2019 I have continued to give occasional advice to officials in the Department of Finance, Employment and Social Development Canada, and the Prime Minister’s Office. I have also discussed policy matters with MPs and an official from the Official Opposition. At the provincial level, I have participated in policy discussions with BC’s Ministry of Social Development and Poverty and some advice on the platform of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party in 2017. I was paid for none of this advice.


1. I’m a journalist. should I quote you?

A: That’s your decision. I disclose; you decide. You can include any of the above information you’d like, if you think your readers would appreciate it.

2. Are you a member of a political party?

A: No.

3. Do you endorse any political party?

A: No.

4. Are you a spokesperson for the government or any party? Do they speak for you?

A: No. I provide occasional advice. Politicians and officials sift that advice through their policy and political filters and come up with a position. I’m not responsible for what comes out the other side. Experts should give advice; elected representatives should make decisions.

5. Why do you comment on policy?

A: I believe my role as a social scientist in public interactions is to push the debate toward consideration of facts, evidence, and research. Very often, people complain there is too little consideration of evidence in our political system. When actors in the political system reach out to me to inquire about what the research says, I’m going to take that call.